Amendments to design of Block A – July 2019

We have just this evening received from PG these proposed changes to the designs of Block A.  We have the community meeting tomorrow (Wed 10th July 6:30pm at St Pauls Learning Centre) so wanted to get these drawings to you as soon as possible.  We haven’t yet had a chance to look at them.

Click the images below to open a PDF in a new tab.

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Consultation on new PG planning application – submit your comments

PG have submitted a planning application to change Block A, the building that fronts Ashley Road. 

The application is a Section 73 application to make material amendments to the existing permission. So it is not a brand new application, but it is much more significant that the non-material applications that PG were submitting earlier this year.

You can see all the online files on the City Council’s website where you can also formally submit your comments. The application number is 19/02364/X.

At our community meeting on 16 May there were great concerns about the emerging proposals. Specifically: the height and mass in proportion to nearby buildings, the design of the shop fronts, the facade design and the materials.

Material amendments to a planning pemission are sometimes referred to the Planning Committee if requested by the committee members or if the planning officers consider it is justified e.g. if there are significant objections and or changes to the design of the building. Submitting your views to the proposals is therefore important.

The public consultation formally ends on 19th June (although this may be extended in practice) so please send your comments to the Council today and also copy them to us so that we can represent your views effectively and so that others can see what you’ve said.

Given the importance of the proposed changes and also the concerns about the Cultural Plan we are having another Community Meeting on Wed 10 July, 6:30pm at a venue to be decided. Put it in your diary and we’ll let you know the venue closer to the time. At the meeting we will have copies of the proposed changes.

CAG has always been committed to working with any developer who will help deliver the community vision and end the very long dereliction of this site. But we will not support a developer who does not deliver the vision.

The revised plan can be seen below along with the plan for which permission was granted. You can see the difference in scale on Ashley Road, and a different design for the entrance into the commercial and market space. (Note that the architects for the permissioned scheme deliberately left the more distant Block A2 uncoloured in order to reduce its visual impact).

May 2019 planning application

2019 Proposed Design

2015 Scheme with Planning Permission

2019 Proposed Design

Diag 4: Site cross section showing east elevation of Blocks A1 and A2 (from 2015 planning permission)

2019 Proposed ground floor plan

2015 Ground floor plan with permission

The Carriageworks is not an easy site to develop. The PG Group has been very open in saying that the cost of clearing it was higher than anticipated and that the build cost is also likely to be higher than expected. Given the current political climate it is also very difficult for them to be clear on potential selling prices for the flats.

But we also need to be aware of the architectural context and the fit of these designs. Above all it is a very important gateway site, with the Carriageworks, one of Bristol’s most architecturally important and impressive historic buildings, at its heart. So these designs must be given careful thought and a considered response. We urgently need your responses if we are to represent your views effectively. Every view received by the council will help and every one is important.

Site update from PG Group

PG Group have today sent an update about the Carriageworks redevelopment:

“Since we last shared the revisions to the Ashley Road façade in January CAG and PG have continued talking and this has influenced some further design developments that we will be sharing with you over the next few week including:

  • Design B is the design being submitted for the application, the one with the 6-commercial ground floor units as this was the preferred option
  • PG has also committed the architects to then turn their attention to the development of the facade design, following the ongoing discussions with CAG, and will share these revised designs during the application process
  • Shortly a revised CGI will also be created and shared to show this design development

“We can also confirm that the light stone used on the façade is Bath stone – this doesn’t really come across on the elevation attached.

“By way of explanation, PG’s focus has been pulling all the strands together to enable submission of the application into the planning process. I am pleased to say this will happen this week.

“The other good news is that PG is also finalising the lengthy search for a suitable contractor to build the Carriageworks. This appointment is now being finalised with an Autumn start date, exact dates to be confirmed, but we will share this with you as soon as we can.”

The designs referred to are below – click for a larger version.  The update is not clear as to whether the application to the planning process will be a full planning application or another non-material amendment in common with the other changes submitted this year.

Proposed revisions to Ashley Road frontage

Click to see images from the design that currently has planning permission. The key change is to the fifth and sixth stories which were previously setback but are now brought closer to Ashley Road in order to increase the number of flats inside. The facade also sees a redesign.

CAG is holding a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest proposals and other things. Click for further details.

Community Meeting – 16 May 2019

We will be holding a Carriageworks Community Meeting on Thurs 16 May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Hamilton House (Mild West room).

Site demolition is now complete and PG have been submitting a number of non-material amendment proposals to the City Council.  As yet, however, a start date for development is still elusive, due in no small part to uncertainties in the construction and property markets arising from Brexit.

At the meeting we will discuss:

  • The emerging changes proposed by PG to the planning permission
  • The cultural plan, what it includes and what it doesn’t (but maybe should) include
  • How the Carriageworks site fits into Stokes Croft Neighbourhood Association’s emerging plans

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th.

Lori and the Liaison Group

PG submit listed building application for change of Carriageworks roof

On 29 January PG submitted another application to the city planners ref 19/00436/X (links to full details on Council website).

Note that this application matches a non-material amendment (ref 19/00409/NMA) to the main planning permission, submitted on 25 January and already consented on 15 February (click for our summary of this application).

PG want to change the roof design of the listed Carriageworks building (Block C) to allow for an internal lift to reach the top floor. This will change the elevation of the building when seen from the rear by replacing two dormer windows with an enlarged mansard roof and one (non dormer?) window.  As a result of the proposed change the roof design will not be uniform (see drawing comparison below).

Extracts from architect’s drawings showing existing scheme and proposed change to roof of Block C

PG have not submitted any elevations to show what if any change will be visible from Stokes Croft or any cross-section of the revised roof.  However, the covering letter states that the changes will only impact the rear elevation.

In terms of formalities, the application seeks to vary the listed building consent they received in 2017 (ref 17/04561/X) which itself varied the original listed building consent granted in 2016 (ref 14/05982/LA).

Any comments on the application have to be made to the planning department by 28 Feb.

Ashley Rd Design Revisions

PG Group have released proposed changes to the design of the Ashley Rd frontage.

February amended proposals (two options)

As yet PG have not provided any description or explanation of the suggested changes.  Neither have they provided amended elevations or floor plans. This makes it hard, if not impossible, to really assess the new proposals.

From the drawing provided, however, there are two options.  Both options appear to be setting the fourth floor back very slightly and also giving it a grey colour.  This is presumably intended to reduce the slablike appearance of the previous design (see below).

December proposals

Option A sees the grey surface treatment extend down one side of the building.  Option B retains the brick frontage across the whole width of the building.

PG have also responded to the comments received by CAG over the last few weeks via email, comments on the CAG Facebook page and comments on the Montpelier Facebook pages.  The comments and PG responses are all in this PDF document.

Height of the proposed building

In their comments submitted in December, Montpelier Conservation Group said: “The revised plans increase the façade of the building by one storey and add a further storey set back by 2 metres or so. The parapet would be at the height of the ridge of Tucketts Buildings and the additional storey higher still. The Inspector’s Report on the 2007 refused application indicated that for this part of the site: “… providing the overall height of the proposed development on the Ashley Road frontage would not be higher than the ridge of Tucketts Buildings in the west and steps down towards the Salvation Army Citadel, I find no harm from the proposal to the conservation area” (paragraph 33)”.

Someone else wrote “Having a six story flat elevation looming over the street rather than the lower building with recessed balconies that was proposed is a major change. It will be one of the tallest buildings in the area and a lot uglier than the previous proposal.” See below for the 2016 scheme that has planning permission.

2016 Planning permission

In response, PG have said “The fourth floor is being extended to align with the front of the building however…. the parapet of the 4th floor will be 200mm below the ridge of Tucketts Building. The 5th floor is set back by 2.5m.”

Whether a 20cm drop, four storeys up,  constitutes a ‘step down’ is debatable.

Commercial scale in a residential area

A local resident said “Over many years there has been slow encroachment into the residential area adjacent to this part of Stokes Croft and there is reason to believe that approval of these changes will make further encroachment more rather than less likely”.

The PG Group responded by saying “The Carriageworks development does bring much needed housing to the area and these changes actually increase the residential aspect of the site. (We are) very committed to developing the site in line with the original community vision and the commercial units on the ground floor are very much a part of this vision.”

Surfaces and materials

A local resident said “The historic parts of Stokes Croft architecture are a lot more appealing than the Salvation Army citadel. The 2018 plans seem to have a lot more low level brickwork an inviting platform for tasteless tagging & vandalism”.

PG Group responded: “The Architects have followed the line of the Tucketts ground floor with the projecting reveals around the ground / first floor window bays, which will be fully glazed at ground floor, again aligning with the character of Tucketts albeit in a contemporary style”.

Compared to Tuckets however, there is still a lot of street level brickwork.

The need for more flats

Some people questioned the need for more flats and the extra storeys facing Ashley Road.   PG Group responded “As demolition has progressed (we have) been able to more accurately assess the costs of development, which exceed original expectations. To balance this, (we have) sought to increase the number of units on site in a way that has the least impact on the surrounding area”.

Stairwells and lifts

The revisions to Block A propose that the two stairwells in the existing scheme are replaced by one.  Comments included concern about fire safety of only having one escape route and another concerned access for people with disabilities if one lift should be unavailable.

PG state their architects have “reviewed the revised design with consulting Fire Engineers FRaMS and their advice was that the single stair solution proposed would be compliant with the building regulations when used with a mechanical smoke extract system and sprinklers”.

PG don’t respond to the issue of disability acccess, although looking at earlier plans the we can see that the single stairwell has twin lifts.

What happens next?

We have asked PG Group for more details and for their proposed process and timescales for submitting the proposed changes to the planners.  We’ll update as soon as we hear back.  In the meantime, write your views below.

Comment on proposed changes to Carriageworks scheme

As reported on 5 December, PG Group are proposing a series of amendments to the 2016 Carriageworks planning permission.

The proposals are still being finalised but we wanted to release what we know as of now.

The most significant changes, which will require a new planning permission, relate to Block A on Ashley Road. If you have any comments please write them at the bottom of this page or email to ideas@carriageworks.org.uk. We will then collate all the responses and send them to PG Group. There will be a short deadline for comments, as yet to be confirmed, so please send as soon as possible.

1  Minor changes to the facade on Stokes Croft

Changes to the window details of Block B (the site of Westmorland House) and to bring forward recessed balconies on the left hand side. This is a minor amendment so can be dealt with by the planning officer and will not need a planning application. Click for drawing comparing existing permission with the new proposal.

2  Changes to the building on Ashley Road (Block A)

As these are significant changes a new planning application will have to be submitted.

The footprint of the building (known as Block A) stays the same as does the setback from the pavement.

In the existing permission the part of Block A (click to open image showing Block locations) that is away from Ashley Road (previously referred to as A2) is six stories high while the part next to Ashley Rd (previously known as A1) is four stories. This is changing so that Block A1 is the same height as A2 i.e. six stories high, albeit with the top floor set back from the frontage (see our cross-section diagram below).  PG have told us that the increase in floor space is essential to ensure that the scheme is viable.

While the height of A1 increases the height of A2 (and Block A as a whole) stays the same. It also stays a lot lower than the old seven storey Westmorland House although this was set back from the Ashley Road frontage.

There is no change to the footway entrance from Ashley Road.

The facade is changed (see CGI drawings below).  Note: Following a meeting between CAG and PG Group on 18 January PG agreed to revise the facade treatment.  We expect to have the revisions by 28 January.

There are also internal changes e.g. one internal stair and lift core instead of two. To retain fire safety a sprinkler system will be used throughout the common areas of the residential blocks.

1.5 residential units and some servicing space on the ground floor will be changed to commercial use.

Section through Block A showing extension of top floors over Block A1. Diagram by CAG, not PG!

Comparison of existing planning permission (2016) with proposal (2018)

View looking up Ashley Road towards Cheltenham Road traffic lights

View from Cheltenham Road traffic lights looking down Ashley Road

View from Picton Street

3  Changes to Block D

Previously there were proposals to change Block D (the affordable housing block) by converting the two ground floor residential units to retail, adding a new storey and using that to add four residential units (so a net gain of two units).  The additional storey would have significantly impacted on residents in Hepburn Road and has now been dropped.

We will provide updates as we receive them from PG Group.